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Friday – Thirty-second week – OT1
Readings: Wis 13:1-9; Lk 17:26-37.
1/ Reading I: RSV Wisdom 13:1 For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;
2 but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.
3 If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them.
4 And if men were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them.
5 For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.
6 Yet these men are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him.
7 For as they live among his works they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful.
8 Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
9 for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?
2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 17:26 As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man.
27 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise as it was in the days of Lot — they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built,
29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all –
30 so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed.
31 On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back.
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
33 Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.
35 There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.” 36
37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
I. THEME: Use your intellect to recognize God’s existence and His ways.
Human beings have a tendency to love what is beautiful in their eyes more than the value which is hidden inside. For example, one likes a delicious meal but forgets about the love of the one who spent time and money to prepare that meal. Some are so ingratitude so that they even don’t say thank to the host. The same thing can happen to God, some people like so much things which God created that they forget about His love; some even forget about the destination which is the eternal life with God.
Today readings remind people that they should love eternal more than temporal values. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Wisdom reminded people to examine their faith, to worship the Creator instead of His creatures. In the Gospel, Jesus continually reminded people to always prepare for his second coming so that they will not be destroyed as in the Great Flood in the days of Noah, or as in the fire and brimstone rain in the days of Lot.
1/ Reading I: From the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.
There are so many things we can discuss about in today passage; but we limit ourselves in two main points: God’s existence and His attributes revealed through the creatures in the cosmos.
1.1/ God’s existence: According to the author, human intellect and the existence of creatures in the cosmos are enough for men to know God’s existence. St. Thomas Aquinas based on the principle of cause and effect which states if a thing exists, there is a cause of its existence, to prove God’s existence. The One who created all things must Himself exist, and we call Him God. St. Paul used the same way to condemn those who don’t believe in God (Rom 1:18-21). Another author said: God creates a man with intellect and let him see all effects of His creation while He hides Himself to see if that man can recognize Him or not. The wise men can use their intellect to recognize God is the Creator. The fools didn’t use his intellect to reason: some said the creatures naturally exist by themselves; some devised many strange explanations, such as Big Bang, evolution… The author of the Book of Wisdom gave his viewpoint about these people as follows: “For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works.”
1.2/ Every creature reveals one or several God’s attributes: When one looks at a beautiful rose, he must think about the One who created that flower; He must be wise and more beautiful than that flower. When people see the beautiful light and feel the warm of the sun, many prostrated and worshipped the sun itself as a god; but they should reason to know the One who created the sun must be wise and more beautiful than it. The author of the Book of Wisdom remarked the reason why many people didn’t recognize God because they judged things according to their appearances and did not use their intellect to reason more deeply. According to him, human intellect should help them to know that the One who created all beautiful things must be more beautiful than all things were combined; the One who created all strong creatures must be more powerful and stronger than all creatures. The more powerful and the more beautiful creatures are, they must help people to recognize their Creator.
Like St. Paul, the author condemned those who refused to believe in God: “Yet again, not even they are to be excused;for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?”
2/ Gospel: The second coming of Jesus
2.1/ People failed to prepare: Although people were warned about all dangers which are about to happen, they still don’t want to prepare for them. Why aren’t people prepared? They probably think these dangers can never happen. Experience has taught people many lessons, no one knows what will happen; for example, the events of September 11, 2000 happened in New York and Washington, DC or the Katrina hurricane happened in New Orleans. Some may think the Last Day or their death are still far away, they want to fully enjoy life until they see some kinds of warning signs, then they will repent. But the main reason why people don’t prepare is that they valued creatures more than the Creator. Jesus reminded them of the two events which were recorded in Genesis to illustrate the foolishness of those who don’t want to prepare.
(1) The Great Flood: “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man.They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
(2) The fire and brimstone rain: “Likewise as it was in the days of Lot — they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built,but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all.”
2.2/ What will happen and things needed to do on the Last Day.
(1) All things will be quickly happened, people will have no time to prepare: When that Day comes, people need to realize the followings: It is not the time to protect material belonging: “let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away.” It is also not the time to come home, wherever one is, let him stand there: “and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back.” Jesus reminded people the story of Lot’s wife, she turned to the column of salt because she ignored the angel’s warning. People must have courage to escape what will happen on that day as Jesus advised: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
(2) There is no confusion between the good and the wicked on that day: The angels of God know exactly who are they. The angels will put a seal on every of God’s servants while other angels will destroy the wicked. Jesus gave some examples about this accuracy: “I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.”
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– God gives us the intellect to recognize His existence through His creatures. We must not worship His creatures instead of Himself.
– Two most important things to be prepared for the Last Day are to firmly believe in Christ and to love everybody. God has warned people many times and advised people to be always ready; however, there will be many people who don’t prepare until the last minute and they will be destroyed for ever.